Lady Tigers Advance in WNIT with 66-64 Win Over Tulsa
March 18, 2004
MEMPHIS, TENN. - Tamika Bulter came off the bench to score a team-high 18 points and Victoria Crawford added 17, also off the bench, as Memphis (21-9) claimed a 66-64 victory over Tulsa (19-12) in the first round of the WNIT Thursday night at the Elma Roane Fieldhouse.
With possession of the ball and 12 seconds left to play, Tulsa had a chance to tie or win the ballgame, but Kara Pongonis' three-point attempt was blocked by Raven Rogers and Crawford hauled in the rebound to seal the win.
"A win is a win," said coach Joye Lee-McNelis. "Obviously getting that first win in post-season play takes a little pressure off of you. I am very proud of how we played with poise in the final minutes of the game."
"I thought we did a good job at the end of the game of knowing what they were going to do in the final possession, and holding them," added McNelis. "All along, I have said that it is the team that executes their plays in the final four minutes of the game, and that was the case here."
Memphis' depth played a vital role in the win as the Lady Tiger bench outscored Tulsa's 45-4. The swarming Lady Tiger defense was also key in forcing the Golden Hurricanes to turn the ball over 23 times in the game, as Memphis turned those 23 takeaways into 17 points. Memphis also narrowly outrebounded Tulsa, 43-42.
"Memphis did a good job of guarding Kara (Pongonis) in the final possession of the game," said Tulsa coach Kathy McConnell-Miller. "I thought we should have gotten a better shot off. The play took too long to develop and we didn't get the look we wanted."
"It was a great season and a great game," added Miller. "This was a big step for our program. I didn't want the season to end, but we lost to a good Memphis team. This will be a great rivalry in Conference USA in the future."
Leading scorer Butler also led Memphis with five assists and four steals. She was 8-of-19 from the field, including a 2-of-6 effort from behind the arc. Raven Rogers led Memphis in rebounding with nine boards while also scoring seven points.
Two Tulsa starters scored 20-plus points in the loss as Pongonis chipped in 21 points off a 7-of-14 effort from the field. She hit five treys and was 2-of-3 from the charity stripe. Jillian Robbins scored 20 points and hauled in 10 rebounds for one of two double-doubles registered by Tulsa. Emily Jaskowiak scored 12 points and hauled in 11 rebounds, while also blocking a game-high three shots.
Memphis senior Princess Swilley scored just six points in the game, and is now just two points shy of 1,000 career points. With two points, she will become the second Lady Tiger in two years to enter the club. Shannon Hamp totaled her 1000th point early last season as a senior.
Memphis will now face the winner of Friday night's contest between Western Kentucky and Cincinnati. The game site and date will not be determined until the completion of the UC-WKU matchup.